Observer’s David Poole dies

This morning, I was thinking about Tom Sorensen's battle with cancer. Then I read David Poole's column in the sports section, and, as I often do, shook my head at his gall and bull-headedness. The nerve, a Nascar writer, absolutely calling out the sport for the situation in Talledega. That's what made him a journalistic force. Then, just now, I click on the Observer's Web site and learn that Poole has died from a heart attack. He was 50.


Many years ago, I was a spring intern in the Observer's sports department. David Poole, who was covering sports media at the time, edited my very first story. It was a profile of a tiny high-school wrestler. I stood over his shoulder and watched as Poole not-so-delicately removed about 80% of my brilliant copy. When he was finished, all the words were mine, but they were connected in ways I had not imagined. Also, the story was better. I was shell-shocked, but it was an incredibly important learning experience for me.

Around that same time, Poole went up to Bristol, CT for a junket to ESPN. He did a test run as an announcer for a fake SportsCenter. The producer asked him what was in his mouth while he was talking. Poole told that story on himself and laughed every time. (Nothing was in his mouth; that's just how he talked.)

One more: When I handed in my brackets for the office NCAA pool, Poole looked at it, looked up at me, and said "thanks for the donation." I did not place.

Motorsports, the Observer sports section and lost an important voice today. —Richard Thurmond